Editorial: Should Towns Ban New Gas Stations?

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  It seems there’s a gas station every mile or so on major roads, unless, of course, you’re running near empty. Then, you can’t find any.

  Do we really need so many? Maybe at rush hour. And sure, the tourist traffic.

  I can’t help but think we’re making a mistake in letting them be built all over the place. With the rise of electric cars, will gas stations be a fossil?

  When a gas station closes down, it sits there forever. That’s because there’s really nothing else that property can be anymore. Those tanks can leak, poisoning the ground and eventually drifting into the aquifer. There’s also petroleum runoff from vehicles driving on them.

  Every single gas station you see on the road today will likely be there forever. Think about that. Every single one.

  The land is too small for a redeveloper to buy it, knock it down, and build something different on it. And even if they did, they’d have to install monitoring wells and get inspections and soil sampling. It would be too costly. There’s nothing they can build on that small lot to earn that much money back.

  Towns should not allow any new gas stations to be built, knowing that one day, decades from now, it will be an environmental mini-disaster and an eyesore.

  However, maybe this electric car thing will be a fad.

  An April 11, 2023 article in The New York Times said that 5.8% of vehicles bought last year were electric. That’s nowhere near the White House’s plan to have half of new car sales be electric by 2030.

  Still, a lot of car companies are following that trend and making electric options.

  A lot can change. The control of the federal government and its rules. Manufacturers might invent something different than gas or electric engines 20 years from now.

  But one thing that won’t change is the gas station itself. That’ll be there for the rest of your life…and it will be there long after you and I are gone.

  Town officials have the ability to choose what businesses go where. They need to give more thought to where gas stations get built, because once they are, they are here to stay.

Chris Lundy
News Editor